Blades of Glory

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No Glory in These Blades

Apr 13, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Amusing chase sequence. Jenna Fischer.

Cons:Not consistently funny. No reason to care about the characters.

The Bottom Line: Blades of Glory is a ridiculously silly movie that doesn't give us any reason to care about the characters, and isn't funny enough to overcome that flaw.


There’s nothing wrong with making an excessively silly movie. Sometimes it can be great to just sit back and laugh without concern for the deeper issues of the moment. In the past, movies such as The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Nutty Professor have had success at doing this. The problem with Blades of Glory is that it removes itself so far from reality that it’s hard to care about anything that happens in the film, and what we’re left with is not funny enough to overcome the paper thin premise.

Blades of Glory tells the story of rival figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). At a major competition, they end up tied and must share the gold medal. During the medal ceremony, the jealous duo gets into an embarrassing fight, leading to their lifetime ban from the sport. Several years later, the pair are convinced to give it a go again as the first male-male pairs skating team. The requisite contrived explanation notes they were only banned from individual competition. They face difficulties along the way, including their own hatred for each other and the threat of a sadistic brother and sister pairs team (Amy Poehler, Will Arnett).

The events in Blades of Glory are played out in a ridiculous over the top manner. The routines that Chazz and Jimmy perform are not just exaggerated versions of real life routines, but a series of bizarre moments that are completely disconnected from reality. Jimmy pulls out a dove at the end of one of his performances, and Chazz doesn’t even perform a real routine, completely stopping at several points and interacting with the audience. Figure skating routines are ripe material for a good satire, but Blades of Glory goes too far and thus loses any connection with the very subject it wishes to parody.

The film makes sure to prevent any connection to the two main characters. Both of them are presented as silly caricatures instead of anything resembling real people. Perhaps the funniest aspect of the pair is that they are inspired by Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (who makes her own cameo in the film). Unfortunately we’re not really given any reason to root for this duo, other than the fact that their rivals are horrible people. As the film builds in predictable fashion towards the climax, its hard to care if Chazz and Jimmy will win because the movie has been telling us all along to laugh at them, not root for them.

Of course, all of these gripes would be rather pointless if the film was funny enough. For the most part, Blades of Glory fails to maintain a consistent comic tone, missing its targets more often than not. The usual assortment of toilet humor is on display here, with plenty of crotch jokes, vomit scenes, and boob grabbing. Some of this is admittedly funny, particularly a scene where Chazz is caught in an uncompromising situation and his attempts to cover it up (so to speak) only makes things worse. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between. The rest is a fairly repetitive sequence of events that gets old really fast and suggests that this was material better suited for a short Saturday Night Live sketch.

Part of the blame must go to filmmakers Josh Gordon and Will Speck, former directors of popular television commercials. They appear to be out of place with a 93 minute running time. The timing between the actors often seems to be out of sync, especially with Amy Poehler and Will Arnett. Both are extremely talented comic actors, but here the best they can do is sneer throughout the entire film, and many of the jokes written for the pair fall completely flat. Upstaging them is the wonderful Jenna Fischer, who plays the mistreated younger sister of the pair. Fischer’s sheepish vulnerability is put to good use here, and she is the only character in the entire film that resembles a human being..

There are a few things that work in the movie. Gordon and Speck put together a hilarious extended chase sequence near the end of the movie where characters must use figure skates on surfaces clearly not intended for that purpose. There’s an amusing running bit with a stalker, who casually mentions he will kill Jimmy one day, even while he’s gushing over him. This suggests some potential filmmaking talent, but perhaps for their next outing the pair will put as much thought and effort into their film as Jimmy and Chazz put into their routines.


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